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Defending champ North Carolina opens up, tops Lipscomb 84-66

North Carolina’s Kenny Williams (24) is fouled as he drives between Lipscomb’s Kenny Cooper (21) and Matt Rose (12) during the second half of a first-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, March 16, 2018. (Bob Leverone / AP)
North Carolina’s Kenny Williams (24) is fouled as he drives between Lipscomb’s Kenny Cooper (21) and Matt Rose (12) during the second half of a first-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, March 16, 2018. (Bob Leverone / AP)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kenny Williams scored 18 points and defending national champion North Carolina took its time before opening up, beating Lipscomb 84-66 Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Theo Pinson had 15 points and flirted with a triple-double for the Tar Heels (26-10), the No. 2 seed in the West Region.

Playing for the first time in the NCAA tourney, the 15th-seeded Bisons (23-10) shot well at the start and held an early six-point edge. They led 33-31 with under four minutes left in the first half before North Carolina went on a 12-1 run to take control by the break.

UNC won its 12th NCAA game in 13 tries going back to the 2016 tournament that ended with a title-game loss to Villanova.

Williams had played only spot duty that season and missed last year’s title run due to an injury. He made 6 of 8 shots Friday and 4 of 5 3s, helping the Tar Heels shoot 52 percent while making nine 3s.

Kenny Cooper scored 14 points for the Bisons, who made just 7 of 28 3-pointers.


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